By Dan Nolan
This past weekend, three music majors and recipient of the Kenyon College Music Scholarship Drew Meeker presented the culmination of their work in Kenyon’s music program. The performances included selections from an original musical, classical guitar pieces, a Schubert mass and gamelan music.
E. Chandler Davis
Speaking to a group of more than 30 people Saturday afternoon in Brandi Recital Hall, Chandler Davis began her Senior Exercise by walking the audience through her detailed program, which laid out the four vocal pieces she composed for her presentation. Davis wrote the songs as parts of a theatrical musical called Lost and Torn Apart that she created for this project, and she sufficiently explained more technical aspects of the composition process to the less musically experienced members of the crowd.
“Sitting down to actually compose every day was a challenge,” Davis said to the Collegian. “You have all these big ideas and you feel proud of yourself and then you have to go and take the time to compose it and put it all in notes on paper, and it’s hard to do that every day.”
During the performance, Davis sang over an accompaniment of piano only, allowing her voice to be the center of attention. In addition to her singing skills, Davis dedicated much of her artistic focus to the songs’ lyrics. Each song’s dark lyricism captured the feelings of the main character perfectly as she copes with news of her absent father.
Davis plans to continue working on her musical after she graduates this spring.
Evan Rasch walked into Brandi with a tight-lipped smile and sat down wordlessly to perform the first half of his Senior Guitar Recital, which consisted of traditional guitar pieces and arrangements of classical works. Breaking up the lengthy performance, Rasch added a comedic twist to the event by unplugging his guitar and exiting the stage between songs, only to reappear immediately, plug the guitar back in and begin his next song.
The second half of his performance swayed more to the pop music side, and included songs from indie bands like Fleet Foxes and Bread Pilot. For the last three songs, Rasch traded in his acoustic guitar for an electric one, and Jeremy Stern ’19, Tim Gruber ’17, Carl Lehman ’17 and Austin Lichtenstein ’20 joined him onstage in a typical rock band setup.
The group closed out the performance with an instrumental version of The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” which was met with a standing ovation.
On Saturday night, Seth Reichert conducted both a 14-person choir and a 10-person orchestra with Franz Schubert’s Mass in G Major for his senior recital. Reichert has been studying conducting with Professor of Music Benjamin Locke and began preparing for the recital in September. He handled the large group confidently, allowing for a very successful and beautiful performance of the program , which contained all six movements of the mass.
“There was definitely a learning curve with actually being in charge of everything and figuring out what people need from me as a conductor,” Reichert said, “but it was a lot of fun and everyone was absolutely incredible to work with.”
Highlights from the performance included solo vocal performances from Gracie Potter ’17, Henry Quillian ’17 and Justin Clark ’19, and Reichert conducted these sections aptly, quieting the orchestra to give the soloists room to be heard.
Despite some challenges onstage, such as the cellists’ music continually falling off the stand, Reichert worked to deliver a strong performance.
Walking onto Rosse Hall’s stage, which was filled with a variety of percussion instruments Sunday afternoon, Drew Meeker approached a single snare drum and began playing his first song, “2040’s SORTIE,” a high-energy piece that displayed the versatility a drummer has even when limited to one drum.
After this piece, Meeker once again showed his range, exploring different textures on two instruments with drumsticks and putting them down to use just his hands. As it moved on from drums to a marimba, Meeker’s performance showed his wide range of percussion skills beyond drumming. For the pieces “Yellow After the Rain” and “Rosa Xanthina,” Meeker navigated the marimba with precision and ease.
After a booming march played on timpani, Meeker was joined on stage by Kenyon’s traditional Indonesian Gamelan Ensemble, where he took the lead on “Bima Mobos,” a traditional gamelan piece.
Although he performed alone onstage for much of the performance, Meeker claimed that he felt confident in his playing. “When you get out there, you have to focus on the music itself, not who you’re performing for. Then it goes a lot better.”
Claire Preston and Devon Musgrave-Johnson contributed reporting.
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